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8 Groups Get Kellogg Grants for Readiness Projects

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The W.K. Kellogg Foundation last week announced that it will award a total of $2.25 million to eight organizations selected to participate in its new School Readiness Initiative.

Seven projects in Michigan, Florida, and Wisconsin will receive three-year grants ranging from $107,000 to $386,000 to help prepare children from low-income and troubled families for preschool and kindergarten.

In addition, the National Governors' Association will receive $318,551 to help states develop more effective policies to guide school-readiness programs.

The demonstration projects will focus on involving parents and strengthening home-school ties.

In Tampa, Fla., for example, the Florida Endowment for Higher Education's preschool-enrichment project will offer two-hour enrichment sessions for preschoolers five days a week at three "teaching centers.'' At the same time, it will offer classes to parents on such topics as employment and child development.

The Battle Creek, Mich.-based foundation will also spend $430,000 to establish a network linking the eight grantees, conduct an evaluation of the programs, and disseminate project findings to parents, teachers, and policymakers.

Among other measures, programs will be evaluated by assessing the health and social welfare and academic achievement of participating children.

Kellogg will use the evaluation "to see if there are any common threads'' that factor in the success of school-readiness programs, Jack Mawdsley, the foundation's coordinator of youth and education programming, said.

Mr. Mawdsley said the foundation hopes the projects will become national models for improving school-readiness among young children. As a result, he added, Kellogg sought to fund programs "that were not so expensive that other communities couldn't replicate them.''

Five of the seven organizations receiving demonstration grants are Michigan school districts: the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District, the Hillsdale Community Schools, the Allegan Intermediate School District, the Battle Creek schools, and the Charlevois-Emmet Intermediate School District.

The other two grants for demonstration projects were awarded to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and the Florida higher-education endowment.--M.S.

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